Getting a set of complete dentures is a process that includes multiple visits to the prosthodontist’s office. We’ll be seeing a lot of each other in the coming weeks. The first step is always to remove any remaining teeth or partial teeth, then allow the gums to heal. Over the next eight to twelve weeks, the bones in your jaw will heal and the gum tissue will cover the open spaces where the teeth used to be. After this healing process is finished, we can begin fitting you for your new dentures and crafting them for you.
MAKING AN IMPRESSION
Impressions are like plaster casts for the shape of your mouth. We begin by taking primary impressions using basic stock sizes of trays, just to zero in the size and shape we’ll need. These stock trays come in a number of sizes and shapes. We’ll use the one that’s closest to your needs for this first step.
We’ll cast the first plaster models from these primary impressions. These are called primary models. We’ll then use the primary models to create customized trays that more closely fit the shape of your mouth. These special trays are a tailored version of the stock trays. We’ll take new impressions using the special trays to get the most perfect sample of your gums and jaws possible. New working models are cast from these impressions.
BUILDING THE DENTURES, TOOTH BY TOOTH
We build registration blocks out of wax that are designed to fit into the place where your dentures will sit. We use these blocks as a blank canvas on which to position the new teeth. This process begins by putting the registration blocks into your mouth and adjusting them to mimic your missing teeth.
Once the blocks are as close to your bite as possible, we mount them on a device called an articulator, which recreates the up and down movement of your jaw. We then fit premade individual teeth onto the blocks to create complete upper and lower bites. We begin with the upper front teeth, move onto the lower front teeth, then finish with the molars in the back.
After the teeth are all in place, we use wax to create a copy of the soft tissue areas of your mouth, recreating them as closely as possible. At this point, we’ll have you come in and try the wax models on. Since they’re made of soft wax, it will be easy to adjust them at this point for a more comfortable fit, if needed.
CREATING THE DENTURES
The finished wax mold is placed into a 2-part mold known as a flask. We coat them with a thin layer of a material called sodium alginate before embedding the dentures in plaster. Because we used the sodium alginate on the mold, it’s easy to separate them later.
When we place the mold in hot water and the wax melts away, leaving the teeth in place. After opening the mold and washing out any remaining bits of wax, we replace it with a pink acrylic-resin dough. We close the mold, compress it, and wait some hours for the resin to cure. After the resin is ready, we open the mold and use tools that include saws and chisels to remove the dentures from the plaster.
Once the plaster is all gone, we clean and polish your new dentures. All that’s left is to have you come into the office for a final fitting. This may take one or more visits, depending on how well they fit your mouth initially
CONSIDERING DENTURES? CALL US FIRST!
When you’re ready to tackle those big dental procedures, only the most skilled Houston prosthodontists will do. Maple Leaf Dental can turn back time, replacing your damaged teeth with artificial ones that even your mother won’t notice. Call us at (281) 497-5558 or email us to get started. Your smile won’t wait forever!
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